“Chinese authorities will continue to face consequences as long as atrocities occur in Xinjiang,” said the Treasury Department’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “Treasury is committed to promoting accountability for the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.”
The US designated Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau. “These individuals are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption,” the Treasury Department said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described the Chinese campaign against Uyghurs as genocide.
The European Union announced its sanctions Monday, naming Zhu Hailun, former head of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and three other top officials, for overseeing the detention and indoctrination program targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, they said, according to the Official Journal of the European Union.
China responded almost immediately with tit-for-tat penalties, announcing sanctions on Monday against 10 EU politicians and four entities for “maliciously spreading lies and disinformation.” They will be banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, while their related companies and institutions are restricted from doing business with China, it said.
David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, said Monday that China’s sanctions on MEPs, the Human Rights Subcommittee and EU bodies are “unacceptable and will have consequences.”
“Human rights are inalienable rights,” Sassoli said.
Blinken emphasized last week that the US was also expressing the concerns of allies, and indicated that going forward, Washington would act in concert with them as well, an approach that US officials say is more effective than targeting China one-on-one.
The EU said that Zhu Hailun had been described as the “architect” of this Uyghur indoctrination program, and “is therefore responsible for serious human rights violations in China, in particular large-scale arbitrary detentions inflicted upon Uyghurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities.”
The sanctions marked the first time the EU has targeted China with its Human Rights sanctioning regime, which came into force in December 2020 and was first used over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
In a statement posted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China accused the EU of “disregarding and distorting the facts” and “grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs” by imposing sanctions against its officials.
The Chinese individuals listed by the EU are now subject to an asset freeze and will be banned from travelling to the EU. The sanctions also bar any EU persons and entities from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed.
The EU said Zhu Hailun was “responsible for maintaining internal security and law enforcement in the XUAR. As such, he held a key political position in charge of overseeing and implementing a large-scale surveillance, detention and indoctrination program targeting Uyghurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities.”
Zhu is the former secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), former Deputy Secretary of the XUAR Party Committee, and former Deputy Head of the regional legislative body, according to the Official Journal of the European Union.
Three other Xinjiang officials were sanctioned: Wang; Deputy Secretary of the XUAR Party Committee, Wang Mingshan; and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.
Apart from the European 10 politicians, China also sanctioned four entities included the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union, Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, the Mercator Institute for China Studies, and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation.
“The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” the statement added. “The Chinese side urges the EU side to reflect on itself, face squarely the severity of its mistake and redress it. It must stop lecturing others on human rights and interfering in their internal affairs.”